The 2018 FIFA World Cup is fast approaching and the major footballing event in the world is slated to be played in Russia next year. Qualifiers to the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup is at it apex and gradually coming to an end. With just 4 games to go in the South America section of the world cup qualifiers to 2018 FIFA World cup, Argentina risks missing out of the World Cup.
In South America there are 10 countries battling it out for 4 automatic slots to the World Cup with 1 slot for a playoff. The top 4 countries on the standings gain automatic qualification with the 5th place country qualifying for a playoff with the champion from Oceania region to seek qualification to the World Cup. With Brazil been the first country to qualify to Russia 2018 World Cup and from the South American region, their arc rivals Argentina is finding it difficult to qualify to the World Cup.
Last matches played in the qualifiers
Bolivia 2-0 Argentina
Brazil 3-0 Paraguay
Ecuador 0-2 Colombia
Peru 2-1 Uruguay
Chile 3-1 Venezeula
1. Brazil: 33 points
2. Columbia: 24 points
3. Uruguay: 23 points
4. Chile: 23 points
5. Argentina: 22points
7.Peru : 18points
Argentina have qualified to every World Cup since 1950 and Argentina is also part of the founding countries of the World Cup in 1930. Argentina have qualified to the World Cup on 17 occasions and winning the FIFA World Cup 2 times(1978 and 1986) and have been runners up of 3 occasions. With these facts and statistics of Argentina in the World Cup, the 2018 World Cup might be without Argentina.
Reason why Argentina might miss out in Russia 2018
• Pressure from other countries
Countries like Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador are all putting up performances which is at top most levels and if these countries continue to play the same way, it will be difficult for Argentina to qualify. If countries like Bolivia are able to beat Argentina convincingly how much more the likes of Colombia and with 2 most difficult games for them coming up against sworn rivals like Uruguay, Argentina must put up a classic performance to outclass the likes of Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador.
• Messi’s Ban
The Barcelona forward was banned by Federation of international football Association(FIFA) just fews hours after their hard fought win against Chile.
The 29 year old forward was penalized for a foul and proceeded to wave his arms and shouts insult at the assistant referee Marcelo Van Gasse with whom he refused to shake hands after the game. With Messi’s absence the Albicelestes have lost a game already against Bolivia, how are they going to cope without their leading marksman who have 3 more games to miss bearing no appeal against his 4 matches ban.
In the 2018 World Cup qualifiers Argentina have played 14 games and Messi have missed 8 of the games. In the 8 games without Messi, Argentina lost 3 games and drew 4 games winning only 1. In the remaining 6 games with Messi, Argentina have won 5 games and lost only 1.
These statistics clearly confirms the fact that Argentina suffers a lot to win a game without Messi.
• No Leader in Messi’s Absence
Argentina have very talent squad who are performing creditable well for their respective clubs across the globe the likes Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Sergio Aguero, Ever Baneg and a host of other guys have all falter to deceive when in Argentina jersey, they showed that in the game against Bolivia with no individual player able to push the team forward as Messi do at times.
With Messi scoring 9 goals for Argentina in 12 games from 2016 till date, he is Argentina’s best player. In Messi’s absence let’s check the other players performance from 2016 till date.
Gonzalo Higuain have scored 6 goals for Argentina in 14 games from 2016 to date.
Sergio Aguero have scored 1 goal in 12 games for Argentina from 2016 till date.
Paulo Dybala have not scored any goal in 3 games for Argentina from 2016 till date.
Ever Banega have scored only 1 goal in 15 games for Argentina from 2016 till date.
This clearly shows that without Lionel Messi, Argentina have no leader in the team to take up the mantle from Messi. Currently, the acting captain of Argentina Ever Banega lacks the bit to lead the Argentine national team.
The Slight Opportunity for Argentina to Qualify for Russia 2018.
Notwithstanding the challenges facing Argentina to qualify to next year’s FIFA World Cup, there is still an opportunity to qualify automatically among the top countries from South America.
History of South America World Cup Qualifiers.
The modern world cup qualification procedure started from 2006 with 4 countries getting automatic qualification to the World Cup and 1 country entering for playoffs. There is base points required to qualify to the World Cup from South America.
In 2014 World Cup Qualifiers
4th Place – Ecuador: 25 points
5th Place – Uruguay: 25 points
In 2010 World Cup Qualifiers
4th Place – Argentina: 24 points
5th Place – Uruguay: 24 points
In 2006 World Cup Qualifiers
4th Place – 28 points
5th Place – 25 points
The history of the South American qualifies clearly showcase that for a country to qualify, it needs 24 to 28 points. Argentina is likely to meet that target with 4 games to end the qualifies. Argentina has games with Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru and Ecuador.
Venezuela and Peru have never won a World Cup qualifiers game in Argentina. Out of the 6 visits Venezuela have made to Argentina in world cup qualifiers Venezuela have lost all the games.
Peru’s best performance in visiting Argentina is a draw. 2 draws and 6 defeats in 8 world cup qualifiers visit. Even the last time Peru drew in world cup in Argentina against Argentina is in the 1985 world cup qualifiers.
Argentina’s visits to Uruguay and Ecuador will be the difficult encounters. The last time Argentina won a World Cup qualifying game in Ecuador was in the 2002 world cup qualifiers, Ecuador 0-2 Argentina.
In the 2010 world cup qualifiers, Argentina won by a lone goal in Uruguay amidst red shown to Martin Caceres and Cristian Rodriguez all of Uruguay which aided Mario Botatti of Argentina to scoring the only goal of the game.
Argentina is secured of 6 points and is likely to win the Ecuador game to elevate them to 9 points. 9 points means that Argentina is likely to get 31 points at the end of the qualifiers and per the qualifications history of South America, 31 points means automatic qualification to the World Cup.
The road is not over for Argentina to qualify for the Russia 2018 world cup. Argentina can qualify if they take their chances against Venezuela and Peru then try to win their last game against Ecuador.
Argentina’s Remaining World Cup Qualifying Games.
31 August 2017: Uruguay vrs Argentina
5 September 2017: Argentina vrs Venezuela
5 October 2017: Argentina vrs Peru
10 October 2017: Ecuador vrs Argentina.